"Gardening requires lots of water -
most of it in the form of perspiration."

~ Lou Erickson

Contact Us

2012_STOPC The grower of Northern Sunset Perennials is a wholesale provider, selling to the trade only, i.e., to garden centers and landscapers. If you are interested in purchasing our high quality perennial plants for yourself, please review our list of garden stores and landscape professionals that carry our products. If you are purchasing for a garden center or landscaper and would like to contact us for additional trade information we may be reached at the following:

Fax 262-253-9122

E-mail: info@northernsunset.com


W. & E. Radtke, Inc., the wholesale grower of NORTHERN SUNSET™ and NATIVE, Naturally™ perennials, Scarborough Faire Herbs™ and Grandpa Red's Garden Goodies™, is a family-owned business with roots dating back to the 1800's in the Milwaukee area. We work hard every day to make the world a better place, providing solutions to improve our surroundings while doing our best to walk softly on the earth. Plants can provide beauty, habitat and green infrastructure improvements to meet the needs of our changing planet.

We are always looking for energetic and enthusiastic individuals to be a part of our team, helping us to "make a difference" in this world. Together we can make it happen!

We are currently looking to fill these positions.

Have questions? Email us at info@weradtke.com or call 262-253-1412.

Send in a resume

Find out what a year on the Farm is like!

A Year on the Farm

January is the beginning of spring production. Seeding begins to ramp up for spring, and maintenance of equipment is done in anticipation of the busy season. Cuttings from Central and South America start arriving the second week of the year.

February is when our picture labels normally arrive, and they are packed up in wooden boxes that are set out in the nursery in spring. We continue seeding and cutting production, and the first planting starts at the end of the month.

March is the busiest planting month of the year. Many "bare root" plants arrive from the Netherlands, Michigan, and the west coast. They are stored in a refrigerated trailer while they await planting. Most of the planting is done on the 2 planting lines in the shed, plus "remote" planting in our greenhouses and at the Flower Source in Germantown.

The fields are usually uncovered the first week of April. Shipping begins a week or so later, after labels have been set out in the container areas. Planting continues at a hectic pace, and cuttings are stuck for June planting. Shipping ramps up as garden centers and landscapers see increased demand with the warmer days of spring.

May is the most critical month of the year. Most of the year is spent in preparation for the "spring rush". The weeks of Mother's Day and Memorial Day are typically the most intense weeks of the year for shipping, and all hands are necessary to make things fly. We often need people to stay an extra hour at the end of the day, and there is usually work available seven days a week. This is your opportunity to earn extra income, as weekend work us usually paid at time-and-a-half.

June is still very busy, or at least we hope it is! Sales are normally brisk through at least the first half of the month. Revenue from April and May is used to cover expenses. The income from the rest of the year is needed to start over for the following spring. If all goes well, there is some left over to show for all of our effort. There is little time to rest, because production for the next year begins in June with seeding, cutting production, and transplanting of seedlings sown earlier in the year.

Production for the following year continues in July, with field digging and planting of Hostas and daylilies added to the mix. There is usually a bit of a lull in shipping as garden centers are generally done for the year, and landscape contractors have slowed down during the heat of the summer.

August is the second biggest planting month of the year, with lots of field digging and planting, as well as planting of seedlings and cuttings from June. Production in August is critical, as the plants need this time to grow on enough to survive over wintering. Planting winds down in September, but there is normally an uptick in sales to landscapers as there is increased urgency to finish installation before the weather starts to turn. By October, planting has finished for the year. All of the plants in the nursery are consolidated and cut back to prepare them for overwintering. Labels are inventoried to determine how many need to be ordered for spring.

In November, all the hoop houses are covered with white overwintering plastic and the containers in the open areas are covered with marsh hay or cold frame sash. Baiting for rodents is critical, as they can cause extensive damage if not accounted for. Covering is usually completed by the end of the month, and all of the crews are done for the year.

December is a quiet month, except for the maintenance shop and office staff. Preparations are made for year-end taxes, pricing for spring, and production of the sales catalog. It is a time to reflect on the year gone by, plan for the coming year, and rest up to do it all over again!!

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